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Modigliani painting breaks Sotheby’s record

Plus: Italian police seize $1 million of stolen artefacts | Sam Nzima (1934–2018) | Design Museum named European Museum of the Year | Corcoran Gallery distributes former collection | and LGBTQ supporters attacked in Beijing art district

15 May 2018

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

Modigliani painting breaks Sotheby’s record | The sale last night of Amedeo Modiglianis Nu couché (sur le côté gauche) (1917) broke the Sothebys record for a single lot at auction, going for $157.2 million. Despite the size of the fee, which made the painting the fourth-most valuable in auction history, Nu couché barely exceeded last months record estimate; it also failed to break the standing auction record for work by Modgliani, set in November 2015 by Nu couché (1917–18), sold at Christie’s New York for $170.4 million.

Italian police seize $1 million of stolen antiquities | Police in the central Italian region of Lazio have recovered nearly $1 million of stolen classical artefacts, according to a report from ANSA posted on the Carabinieri’s website. The items are said to date from the 4th century BC to 2nd century AD, and were allegedly accumulated illegally by two Roman businessmen, one of whom had set up a private museum to display some of the objects.

Sam Nzima (1934–2018) | The South African photographer Sam Nzima has died at the age of 83. He was best known for his photo from 1976 of the body of Hector Pieterson, a black 12-year-old schoolboy shot to death by police. In the aftermath of the image’s publication Nzima was placed under house arrest for 19 months and for years he struggled to obtain the copyright on his image, which TIME ranked among their ‘100 most influential images of all time’.

Design Museum named European Museum of the Year | The Design Museum in London has been named the European Museum of the Year for 2018. The museum, which topped a shortlist of 40 institutions, recently welcomed its millionth visitor since its move in 2016 to Kensington from the original Tower Bridge site. The judges cited its ‘high level of interactivity’, and its ‘democratic and multi-layered intercultural dialogue’.

Corcoran Gallery to distribute former collection | Four years after the closure of the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C., the institution’s trustees have announced how the approximately 11,000 works remaining from its 19,493 object-strong collection (the rest of which was acquired by the National Gallery of Art) will be distributed. The vast majority – around 9,000 items – will go to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center; 21 other institutions will benefit as well. None of the holdings is being sold.

LGBTQ supporters attacked in Beijing’s 798 Art District | The Art Newspaper reports that two young women wearing rainbow badges in support of LGBTQ rights were attacked on Sunday by security guards at Beijing’s 798 Art District. A 798 Art District administrator is reported to have defended the actions, telling Chinese state newspaper The Global Times that wearing the badges was ‘illegal’.

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